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2004 Nissan Sentra Sedan

4dr Sdn 1.8 Manual ULEV

Starting at | Starting at 28 MPG City - 35 MPG Highway

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  • $12,400 original MSRP
Printable Version

2004 Nissan Sentra Sedan

Printable Version

2004 Nissan Sentra Sedan


2004 Nissan Sentra

Source: New Car Test Drive


Nissan Sentra gets updated styling and an upgraded interior for 2004. The changes give the Sentra a more contemporary appearance with a toothy grille reminiscent of the 2004 Maxima. New model designations (such as 1.8 S and 2.5 S) indicate which of two engines is under the hood.

The basic product and its mission have not changed, however. The Sentra remains practical and frugal, roomy and comfortable. Sentra offers a good value, starting at just $12,200 (MSRP) with a well-equipped 1.8 S retailing for $14,200.

The SE-R models are solid sport compacts, fun to drive, with a responsive suspension and a strong, 165-horsepower 2.5-liter engine.

For 2004, Sentra models get redesigned front and rear fascia and a newly styled hood. Also receiving changes for 2004 is the Sentra SE-R. New features include a new brake package for SE-R Spec V with BremboÒ front discs, a new interior charcoal fabric and two new exterior colors – Volcanic Orange and Sapphire Blue. There are several interior upgrades as well, including a trip computer (standard on 2.5 S, SE-R and SE-R Spec V) and an enhanced Rockford Fosgate sound system.

2004 Nissan Sentra

Model Lineup

The names have changed, but the song remains the same in the Sentra lineup. Gone are the XE and GXE, replaced by alphanumeric 1.8 and 1.8 S designations. Five models are available for 2004 with a choice of four-cylinder engines. All are four-door sedans with front-wheel drive.

A 1.8-liter engine powers the 1.8 and 1.8 S models, while a 2.5-liter engine is used in the 2.5 S, SE-R, and SE-R Spec V.

Sentra 1.8 ($12,200) is the base model and comes standard with a rear window defroster, dual remote-control mirrors, power steering, a tilt steering column, 14-inch steel wheels and intermittent windshield wipers. A five-speed manual transmission is standard; but a 1.8 with four-speed automatic ($13,000) is also available. Air conditioning is not standard, but is part of a Convenience Package ($1,250) that also includes AM/FM/CD with four speakers.

Sentra 1.8 S ($14,200) comes standard with the popular features, including air conditioning, power windows and locks with remote keyless entry, AM/FM/CD with four speakers, an eight-way adjustable driver's seat, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, rear heater ducts, and a digital clock. The 1.8 S is also available with the automatic ($15,000). A Road Trip Package ($420) adds cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and AM/FM/CD with seven speakers. ABS and side air bags ($600) are optional on the 1.8 S, but we strongly recommend them as they could save your life.

Sentra 2.5 S gets the bigger engine found in the sports models. Here, the 2.5-liter engine puts out 165 horsepower and 175 pounds-feet of torque for quicker acceleration performance. It comes standard with an automatic transmission, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and side airbags. A Power Sunroof Package ($700) is available for 1.8 S and 2.5 S.

SE-R brings a sporty personality to the Sentra. It offers great handling and there's lots of power available from the 2.5-liter engine. The SE-R ($17,100) comes with the 165-horsepower engine and an automatic transmission. The SE-R also comes with 16-inch alloy wheels with P195/55R16 performance tires, special body trim, a rear spoiler, sports suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, sport cloth seats with eight-way power adjustments for the driver, cruise control, an upgraded audio system, and titanium-colored gauges that glow orange at night.

SE-R Spec V uses low-restriction exhaust to boost output to 175 horsepower. To this, it adds a six-speed manual transmission, a helical limited-slip front differential, and 17-inch wheels with 215/45ZR17 high-performance tires. The Spec V comes with a hot lava-red interior featuring Skyline-style sport seats and black and silver accents. Racing style Brembo brakes with four-piston front calipers painted in traditional Nissan gold are available ($1,000) with 12-inch vented front discs and 10.9-inch rear discs.

ABS and side airbags are optional ($600) for SE-R and SE-R Spec V, but advisable for their ability to help save your hide. Other options include an Audio Fanatic Package with a 300-watt nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system ($550) and partial fold-down rear seat, and the Power Sunroof package ($700).


The majority of the enhancements to the 2004 Sentra lineup are in exterior design. For 2004, Sentra features restyled headlamps and rear combination lamps, a new smooth front and rear fascia with a fresh hood design and a distinctive grille. The changes are designed to take the styling of the Sentra to a new level with more flair, making it look more stylish, assertive, and self-confident.

Sentra maintains its flush-mounted, one-piece multi-parabola halogen headlamps as well as its body-color front grille, side moldings and bumpers. Handsome and solid, the basic Sentra design features a low hood line, high rear deck, and strong rear fenders, with a distinct front-to-rear character line. Robust and rounded, the design was penned by Nissan's California styling studio.

The SE-R was designed to evoke the image of the Nissan Skyline, a sports sedan legendary in the Japan market for its performance. For 2004, the sport-inspired Sentra SE-R receives several body enhancements, including new front and rear fascia, new headlamp shapes, and a restyled hood. A rear spoiler and large chrome exhaust tips indicate the intent of the SE-R.

The term compact is relative, as all of these cars seem to grow over time. This is not your father's subcompact. Sentra fits between the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, with an overall length of 177.5 inches and body width of 67.3 inches, but it's about 2.5 inches shorter than those at a height of 55.5 inches.

2004 Nissan Sentra
Interior Features

Sentra offers a roomy interior, both for people and cargo. The interior is designed well from a functionality standpoint and everything seems to fit well.

At first glance the Sentra's front seats look like normal economy car perches, but once you're in them they feel much roomier than they look. In all but the base model, the seats adjust for height with dual lifters. The driver's seat is eight-way adjustable (four-way on the base 1.8 model), with a four-way adjustable passenger seat. Driver and passenger sit relatively high in the hip area, making getting in and out easier.

New for 2004, SE-R gets new charcoal-colored fabric. The seats in the SE-R are supportive, with big side bolsters. They hold you firmly, but comfortably, in place. One knob on the side adjusts the front half of the seat bottom; another knob adjusts the rear half. Leather covers the SE-R's steering wheel and gearshift knob. New fabric upholstery for the SE-R Spec V features silver accents.

Red markings on black gauges are difficult to read on bright days with sunglasses on (there's a surprise), but they look cool at night. Stereo controls are positioned high on the center console, making them easy to adjust, and the metallic trim of the faceplate matches the latest in trendy Continental design. Other controls are straightforward and easy to use. Sentra is equipped with generous cabin storage, including a center-console with lid and a large glove box. A compartment on top of the dash is useful for storing a wallet or sunglasses. The cup holders work well for standard-size cans and cups. For 2004, a trip computer comes standard on all models with the 2.5-liter engine.

The rear seats can accommodate grownups, and all seating positions provide good breathing room. All three rear-seat positions have three-point belts, though three back there is a crowd. The four outboard belts are equipped with automatic pretensioners, an important safety feature for an economy car. This is equipment that many bigger sedans didn't have just five years ago.

The trunk is big, with 11.6 cubic feet of cargo space. The 60/40 split folding rear seatback can be unlatched from the trunk (difficult to figure out without help), making the Sentra a versatile cargo hauler. The available Fosgate subwoofer reduces versatility, taking up space and reducing the size of the passthrough.

The optional Fosgate stereo sounds fantastic with crisp bass and clear highs and no clipping at high volumes, but the controls are on the small side. For 2004, the system has been enhanced for improved sound quality.

Driving Impressions

The Nissan Sentra is a terrific car and we love the sporty SE-R and Spec V models.

Sentra 1.8 and 1.8 S models run smoothly and quietly. They feel stable at high speeds, and wind and tire noise are low. The 1.8-liter engine turns a relatively calm 4500 rpm at 100 mph. At the legal limit of 70 mph, the 1.8-liter engine turns just 3100 rpm in fifth gear when equipped with the five-speed manual. With the automatic it revs even lower at this speed. The EPA rates the Sentra 1.8 and 1.8 S at 28/35 mpg city/highway with an automatic transmission, and 28/36 with a five-speed manual. For longer life with less maintenance, the Sentra engine uses a timing chain instead of a cheaper, but quieter, timing belt. You don't notice the extra noise generated by the timing chain, however.

The 1.8-liter engine in the GXE and XE races easily to its 6500 rpm redline, but it was designed to deliver its power relatively low in the rev range, where most Americans shift. (Torque peaks at 129 pounds-feet at a low 2400 rpm.) Most U.S. buyers opt for the automatic transmission. Low-rpm torque and carefully mapped gearing allow 1.8-liter automatic models to accelerate quickly from intersections, yet cruise the highway in a relaxed manner. Big motor mounts isolate the engine, deadening noise and vibration.

The 2.5-liter engine that comes in the 2.5 S, SE-R, and Spec V delivers lots of power. Throttle response is immediate, and strong torque makes for strong acceleration performance. Based on the architecture of Nissan's V6 engines, the SE-R's 2.5-liter inline-4 features variable valve timing, silent-chain cam drive and a compact balance system to reduce vibration. The power band is very linear. The automatic transmission in the 2.5 S and SE-R works well with the 2.5-liter engine.

The Spec V adds to the fun with even more power and it sounds really cool with the low-restriction exhaust. Weighing in at 2,708 pounds, the Spec V weighs only 15.5 pounds per horsepower, compared to 16.4 for the standard SE-R. Nissan claims the Spec V will squirt from 0 to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds. The Spec V's six-speed manual shifter tends to be notchy. Fifth gear can be almost hard to find. Fortunately, the gearbox isn't nearly as balky in second, third, and fourth, which is where this car is the most fun to drive.

Handling is even more impressive with the sports suspensions found on the SE-R and Spec V. We instantly felt comfortable in them, feeling like we could drive them right to the limit the first time we climbed in. It's easy to rotate the SE-R in corners using the throttle, making it a lot of fun to drive. Tossable is the word that comes to mind. The rack-and-pinion steering provides quick and direct control. Handling is aided by larger front and rear stabilizer bars and front suspension tower bracing. The high-performance tires offer good grip in the dry. We've noticed inconsistent grip in the wet, however, requiring care when driving aggressively in the rain. Overall, the Sentra feels a little bigger than some of the other compacts, including the Mazda Protege.

Spec V builds upon the SE-R's handling capabilities, with tighter shock tuning and spring rates 15 percent stiffer in front, 16 percent stiffer in back. High-performance 215/45ZR17 tires on special 17-inch wheels complete the suspension package and give Sentra a tough, sport-compact look.

Big disc brakes slow the SE-R quickly. Whether we were lapping Laguna Seca Raceway or blasting along the cliffs on Pacific Coast Highway, we found the brakes easy to modulate. The SE-R's front rotors measure a full 11 inches, larger than in many so-called sporting machines. A four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock braking system is also available. For 2004, a high-performance Brembo Brake Package is offered on the SE-R Spec V model. The exclusive package includes gold-painted Brembo four-piston front calipers, 12-inch Brembo vented front discs, and 10.9-inch rear discs.

Thanks to its torque-sensitive limited-slip differential, the Spec V is much more fun on an autocross course or a twisting mountain road than it is in a straight quarter-mile. This special differential allows the front wheels to rotate at different rates without slipping, greatly reducing understeer in hard cornering. This lets the driver get back on the power much sooner, and improves the Spec V's balance when accelerating out corners.


Nissan Sentra continues to be a compelling choice among compact sedans. It's no longer the newest product in the class, but styling revisions freshen it up.

Sentra drives like it's worth more than its price. The 1.8 S model comes well-equipped and the 1.8-liter engine provides peaceful and comfortable highway cruising with good acceleration performance.

The available 2.5-liter engine propels these cars to the front row in terms of acceleration performance. The racy SE-R and SE-R Spec V deliver sports car performance on an economy car budget.

Model Line Overview

Model lineup: Sentra 1.8 ($12,200); 1.8 automatic ($13,000); 1.8 S ($14,200); 1.8 S automatic ($15,000); 2.5 S automatic ($16,700); SE-R automatic ($17,100); Spec V ($17,300)
Engines: 126-hp 1.8-liter 16-valve dohc inline-4; 165-hp 2.5-liter 16-valve dohc inline-4; 175-hp 2.5-liter 16-valve inline-4
Transmissions: 5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic; 6-speed manual
Safety equipment (standard): driver and passenger front air bags, 3-point seat belts in all positions, child safety rear door locks, child-seat latches, emergency inside trunk release
Safety equipment (optional): ABS, front side-impact airbags
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Aguascalientes, Mexico

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V ($17,300)
Standard equipment: 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/45ZR17 tires, Skyline-style front sport bucket seats, red, black, and silver interior, 6-speed manual transmission, Helical limited-slip differential, sport-tuned suspension, increased flow muffler, four-wheel disc brakes, remote keyless entry, 8-way adjustable driver's seat, tilt steering wheel, variable intermittent wipers, overhead console with map lights, day/night rearview mirror, air conditioning, cruise control, power mirrors/doors/windows, 180-watt audio system with CD player
Options as tested (MSRP): Side airbags and ABS ($600); Audio Fanatic Package ($550) includes 300-watt Rockford Fosgate amplifier with nine speakers, partial fold-down rear seat, VSS, and immobilizer
Destination charge: ($540)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $ 18,990
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine: 2.5-iter 16-valve dohc inline-4
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 175 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 180 @ 4000
Transmission: 6-speed manual
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 23/29 mpg
Wheelbase: 99.8 in.
Length/width/height: 177.5/67.3/55.5 in.
Track, f/r: 57.7/56.9 in.
Turning circle: 38.4 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 39.9/52.1/41.6 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 37.0/52.3/33.7 in.
Cargo volume: 11.6 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: 1000 Lbs.
Suspension, f: independent
Suspension, r: beam axle
Ground clearance: N/A
Curb weight: 2708 lbs.
Tires: P215/45ZR17
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with ABS
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gal.

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of May 05, 2003.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges.
N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-335-3592 - www.nissandriven.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2004 Nissan Sentra Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade

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Passenger Crash Grade

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Rollover Resistance

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Side Impact Crash Test - Front

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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear n/a

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std
Printable Version

2004 Nissan Sentra Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles

Nissan Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-year/100,000 mile limited warranty. Only Nissan models less than 6 years old and under 80,000 miles qualify for the Nissan Certified Pre-Owned program. The CARFAX® Vehicle History Report ensures your vehicle has a clean title history.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 model years or newer & less than 80,000 miles.
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 167 point comprehensive Certified Pre-Owned Inspection and reconditioning. Inspection includes OEM service bulletins and recalls, diagnostic trouble codes, powertrain/chassis, body frame, road test, interior and body exterior.
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes for the duration of the 7 year/100,000 mile limited warranty from the original in-service date of the vehicle.
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty No/Yes with the purchase of the CPO Wrap Coverage at time of sale. Fee to transfer is estimated to be $50
Warranty Deductible $50 per claim

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2004 Nissan Sentra Sedan

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